Natalie Kfoury & Reginah Sanyu – Co-Editor-in-Chief & 1851 Staff
Lasell recently became a member of the National Retail Federation’s Student Association (NRFSA), an association for students who are interested in anything fashion based. The association represents different retailers including chain restaurants and industry partners from the U.S, in addition to more than 45 countries.
NRFSA is a relatively new organization that is part of the National Retail Fashion Association. NRFSA assists students with networking and job searching in the industry. It also updates them on industry news and also offers speed networking interview opportunities. There are only 28 colleges and universities involved in NRFSA in the United States, and Lasell is the only school involved in New England.
“NRFSA is open to everybody and anyone can get involved. It’s a great opportunity for Lasell to show off our fashion students,” said Professor Catharine Weiss, Lasell’s NRFSA advisor. “We really want to thank Vice President Jim Ostrow for giving us the opportunity.”
As a part of NRFSA, a group of Lasell students went to New York City to attend Retail’s BIG Show, which is held from January 12-14 at Jacob K. Javits Convention Center. The convention included many speakers, such as Kofi Annan, Secretary-General of the United Nations. The event also held speed networking sessions, awards, special presentations, and programs held by CEOs from organizations such as HSN and Rent the Runway.
“It was an amazing experience. The keynote speakers, breakout sessions, and EXPO were educational and helped us understand the future of retail. We learned that technology and innovation is the future [of the industry],” said Barbara Wrenn, student at Lasell and the college’s spokesperson for NRFSA. “The speakers were also inspirational – [they inspired] us to be passionate and make a difference through the medium of retail.”
Professor Weiss was excited for her students to attend the convention because it would allow the students to hear the advice she gives them in the classroom from professionals in the industry. She was also thrilled to show the employers what the students had to offer.
“I think employers are going to be blown away by what the students know,” said Professor Weiss.
Although NRFSA is a fairly new organization at Lasell, it offers students great opportunities and seems likely to grow in size on campus. With Lasell Alumni Sonjia Williams making it to the top five on last season’s “Project Runway,” this is another chance for fashion students to shine and have more opportunities before and after they graduate.
“We left the conference feeling empowered and motivated,” said Wrenn. “It was one of the best experiences of my college career and I know others feel the same.”